Megan's 5 star rated Contemporary Romance

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

A Warm Welcome to Peter Brandt

Peter says of himself: It only takes a few minutes of thought before Peter Brandt can devise a scenario that would make a fantastic story, and minutes after that before it begins to fill itself in.
“I have been able to think up stories all my life but it’s only been in the last seven years that I realized I was abusing my creative side by not writing them down.”

Peter retired from the Air Force and began a new career as a Technical Writer. His writing abilities have allowed him to work in Canada, the United States and even in the Middle East. But its Peter’s love for stories that has brought him into a new realm of writing. His humorous memoir about his life as a soldier in the Canadian Armed Forces and the tragic memoir about his father’s life in a Prisoner-of-War camp at the age of 14 allowed him to refine his writing before he began to venture in writing Young Adult fiction.

“I have a very unique way of creating my stories. It begins with a craving, like a recent smoker who just quit cigarettes but still feels the addiction. I can’t shake it until I sit down and begin to let my mind wander. Many times I start my quest for a new story by wondering - What If. Soon after I begin to write and can usually get the first draft completed within a few weeks.
Maple Express began as a “what if” question and I’d share it with you but it would give away the storyline.”

I always write my stories as I would see them on the movie screen, which is why writing screenplays are also something I do. I am shooting a short film I wrote with a friend of mine within the next couple of weeks with another film shortly after.”

Peter has taken formal lessons in acting and has enjoyed some success as an actor in TV and film before his day job as a Lead Technical Writer required him to move out of the country.
“I can honestly say I have landed in the perfect job for me. I love to write...doesn’t really matter what I write, creatively or technically, writing is a pleasurable experience.  It has allowed me to travel and for that I am grateful.”

Peter grew up with the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew hardcover books.
“I loved them. I remember sitting under my blanket after lights out, sweating from the heat and the fear that gripped me as Joe and Frank carried on with another of their adventures.”
It is with these wonderful stories in mind that Peter wrote “Holly Alexander and the Mystery of the Courthouse Square.” This young adult novel will be released summer / fall 2012.
“I never really grew up. I have tried to write for adults but I find it difficult. I was a small, shy, and bullied kid growing up. I was nothing special. I had terrible grades, no idea what I wanted to do with my life and, totally foreign to me. After I joined the Army those years faded quickly and I guess it has caused me to want to get those years back.
That is why I crave writing about young people who feel they are nothing special until I put them in a position where they have no choice but to become someone they never dreamed they could be. It is very uplifting for me to make heroes out of young people who believe they have nothing to contribute. It’s an eye opener for me as well as for them when it happens.”

Pete continues to write and publish through Simple Simon Publishing, a different type of publisher.
“Simple Simon Publishing is all about turning authors into entrepreneurs. For too long authors have felt dependent on the closed loop publishing industry to discover them and make them successful. Simple Simon’s philosophy is you are not just an author but the best person in the world to sell your and your writing.”
Peter and his wife Carly have five kids who are all grown and on their own.
First, the blurb from THE MAPLE EXPRESS

 BLURB:   Sara Maple has a comfortable life—the only child of a wealthy family—a best friend who does everything she asks—and the admiration of most of her schoolmates. Unfortunately, her temper and “indestructible” attitude quickly place her in a very precarious position.

“The Maple Express” is a powerful novel that captures the author’s take on the miracle of the human mind. “The Maple Express” delves into the actions and consequences of a young girl who has never had to take responsibility for her actions before. The story brings the reader into a world where Sara’s determination to find her way off the train sends her on an emotional trip that bonds her to her new friends and changes her life forever.

Both young and old readers will love the emotional journey Sara Maple takes them on as she deciphers the obstacles that confront her. Sara’s story ends with a surprise twist and leaves the reader with a sense of discovery about his or her own humanity.

1.       In a couple of sentences, describe the heroine’s character.  What do you like best/least about her?
Sara genuinely wants something different for herself but she cannot escape what she has be taught by her mother; a sense of entitlement because of her family’s wealth and position in the community.
Sara must become accountable for her actions, something she has never had to do before. 
2.       What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
That I write really great stories. I write what I feel at the time. Action adventure one day, a comedy the next. I have a vivid imagination and I don't mind going outside of the normal to tell my story. I write because I need to, because I really want to share my stories with my readers.
3.       What do you think are the main ingredients for a successful book?
The story has to be able to hold the reader's attention from start to finish. I have read many books that seem to drag on and on at the start and you pray as a reader that something finally happens.
Maple Express is a unique story in that the heroine Sara Maple is her own worst enemy. Headstrong and quick to act without a lot of thought, Sara is forced on a journey that requires her to change how she treats others and how she treats herself.
Sara must take control and decide the direction she wants her life to go, both physically and psychologically.
4.       What do you like best and least about writing?
I hate being alone. I have a large office now and I can leave the door open, but I used to have an office in a small room and when the door was closed, I couldn't write. I had to replace the wood door with a glass door. As long as I could watch my wife and kids going up and down the hallway I was okay.
What I love the most is how the story begins to open up as I write it, ending with a storyline that has me in total awe. Sometimes I wonder what part of my brain it came from because I am always amazed that  I was the one who wrote it.
5.       Do you have a writing routine?
I need to spend one day every weekend just writing. I will spend 10 -12 hours writing that day (usually Saturday) because when I am in writing mode, I need to see a good chunk of the story written to keep my spirits up. I can usually burn through 30 - 50 pages in a 10 hour period. During the week I try to spend at least two hours writing - giving me 2 hours x 5 days = 10 days plus 10 hours on the weekend for a total of 20 hours a week. If I can write 5 pages every 2 hour that would give me 50 pages a week, a lofty goal.
6.       What can we look forward to from you in the near future?
I grew up with the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series of books and I was always fascinated with Frank, Joe and Nancy having one adventure after another, so I decided to write one.
"Holly Alexander and the Mystery of the Courthouse Square" is my version of a Hardy Boy book. Holly moves to a new town and soon after arriving ends up in a lot of trouble that will require all of her cunning, and the help of her new friends, to get out of it.
As well, I am part way through writing another story about a young man by the name of Taylor from California who disappeared on his way to school and mysteriously shows up two months later wandering along the Pacific Coast Highway. He has no idea who he is and how he got there.
7.       Do you have a favourite author/book? What was your favourite book as a child/teen? Are you currently reading anything?
"On Writing" by Stephen King was very inspirational for me when I was having a hard time writing. I had lost over 15,000 words of a novel I was writing when my computer crashed and I just couldn't do it anymore, so I quit. Reading "On Writing" allowed me to see that I was on the right track and doing the seat time the same way Stephen did. That was a turning point for me. I try to read it every 6 months or so to keep it refreshed in my mind.
8.       How do you like to spend your free time?
Wow, that is a good question. I spend a lot of time writing my novels but I am also writing screenplays and doing some acting. I am also learning to play guitar and later this year I will be taking violin lessons. I also have a video blog titled Author to Entrepreneur where I discuss getting books published as an independent author.
We also have good friends here that we love going out to dinner with on the weekends. We have some really excellent restaurants here in the city.
9.       What would you most like to accomplish this year?
I would love to make enough money in book sales to allow me to retire and write and act for a living. In the meantime, I hope to write a full-length feature screenplay and get my director / producer friend to turn it into movie.
10.       What is your culinary speciality?
I used to cook a lot before I remarried, but my wife Carly is an amazing cook so I let her go crazy. I love Thai food, especially chicken red and green curry. If I cook now I love to take a mixture of vegetables and make a stir fry.
Any exciting plans for the near future?
Being an independent author and selling eBooks can be a nice choice from finding an agent and publisher. I have had a publisher but my experience wasn't so great, so I find myself self-publishing. I don't like the stigma associated with it. Painters, photographers, and musicians make their art and sell it themselves and we don't think any less of them, yet if an author writes a book and publishes it themself they are somehow not good enough.
The reality is there are thousands of authors and books rejected each year that are wonderful and just because the "conventional" publishing model didn't accept it doesn't mean it's not worth publishing. It might just be that the agent isn’t looking for that style of book.
We authors are beginning to wake up to this fact. I treat writing novels as a business. I hire professionals to edit my work and make my covers, allowing me to concentrate on the writing. Getting my name out there and showing the public that I have good stories to contribute is fun for me.
Finally a taste of  Maple Express:                                                                                                                
It took Sara a few seconds to comprehend where she was. As best as she could tell, she was staring at an upside down Thomas Cole painting that appeared to be zipping along at a tremendous rate of speed.

The wind in her hair and face made her eyes water and saliva run from the corner of her mouth. Sara closed her mouth and swallowed.
The last thing she remembered was stepping up on the ladder that led to the train engine. When she woke, she was staring at the scenery, dangling upside down, and being held by something that had wrapped itself around her ankle. Her face was mere inches from the ground. She couldn’t distinguish any one individual rock — they were all shooting past her too fast to see anything more than a blur.
Sara turned her head to find out where the noise was coming from. She knew the sound of the wind that rattled past her but the throaty metallic rattle that overpowered it was far more excruciating on her ears.
The wind spun her a quarter turn and what she saw caused a scream to erupt from deep inside. Two large train wheels were spinning along steel tracks. The sound she heard was steel hitting steel. The pistons created the swooshing sound as they pounded the wheels around, propelling the train forward.
Sara looked for something to grab onto but there was nothing within her reach. She felt like a side of beef dangling in a butcher’s freezer.
Follow the rest of Peter's tour
 Leave a comment for the chance to win one of these prizes    
Peter has some original prizes he's giving away at the end of his tour. Two winners will win a pint jug of Butternut Mountain Farm Vermont Pure Maple Syrup, Grade A Dark Amber, in honor of the main character of The Maple Express, Sara Maple, from the small town of Mapleton Vermont. One grand prize winner will win an awesome Bachmann Trains Pegasus Ready-to-Run HO Scale Train Set. Also, the blog host with the most comments will win a 2012 Canadian (1 oz) Silver Maple Leaf Coin in an "Air-Tite" Capsule.
Many thanks for visiting today, Peter. Great to meet you!
Website: Publisher: Blog:  BUY MAPLE EXPRESS at Smashwords for $1.99


  1. I laughed, Peter, when I saw you read the Hardy Boys and were in the military. My older brother read the Hardy Boys ferociously and is now a retired captain from the Navy. The books came in the mail and he'd get so excited that I used to gift wrap them before he came home from school. I write about teenagers, too, a lot of the time. I think I relate more to that time of my life than I do at being 52. Sometimes I look around and ask "who's the adult in this situation," and then I realize...I am. LOL Take care, Lynn

  2. I am just like your husband Lynn. I don't know what growing us is all about and I'm 55 and I really missed out on my youth. I was married at 22, had kids by 23 and never really had a chance to enjoy my life. My kids are now all grown and my life live in Abu Dhabi and we are presently in Thailand on holiday. We are having the time of our lives. My present wife was married with kids early as well so we are having a blast now. Anyway, thank you for your comment and I will check out your site.

  3. Thank you Megan for hosting me today. I love the questions you asked especially the culinary one because we are in Thailand...the most awesome place on the planet for truly organic food that tastes divine.
    In my previous comment I mentioned that I was married early and had kids and didn't have a chance to enjoy my life. I had a blast as my kids grew up so I don't want to sound like someone who hates his kids LOL, but I meant now adays young people go out and travel and enjoy the world and when they have had enough they settle down, get married and had kids. What I really meant to say is we are now doing this in our later years!
    Thanks again for having me.

  4. The Thai food we get over here is delicious. I'm sure it must be many times better over there! Glad to host you today

    1. We have excellent Thai food in Abu Dhabi as well, but over here in Thailand we eat food made by farmers, not corporations and believe it or not, I kind of missed that.

  5. I love that writing this story even surprised you. It sounds really awesome.

    1. Thank you for that- it was interesting. I really get a very nice feeling stress in my stomach when I am writing and I know the story is going the way I was hoping.

  6. Pete...I agree with you that the book has to grab and hold my attention from start to finish. If I'm not grabbed quickly, I'll move on to another book. There are too many books and too little time!

    1. Yes and when it takes too long to set up the storyline you as a reader become frustrated and when I get that feeling it's time to move on. Pete

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  8. Good to know you are making up for your youth and having the pleasure of doing it with your wife. I agree about a book having to catch and hold your attention. I like to read - a lot - so if a book drags, it also gets ditched these days.